Chester City Football Club: The Death Rattle (Part 5)

16 By Ian  |   The Ball  |   November 28, 2009  |     46

It is better to die standing than to live on your knees. The revolution came to a small corner of Cheshire this afternoon as what may end up being Chester City’s final match was abandoned with fifteen minutes to play after supporters invaded the pitch in protest at the continued involvement of the Vaughan family at their club. There had already been one pitch invasion during the first half and, with Chester having taken a 3-2 lead against struggling Eastbourne Borough, a second invasion led to the Eastbourne players leaving the pitch and refusing to re-enter the field of play.

The protests came at the end of another week during which the situation at The Deva Stadium continued to deteriorate. Rumours started to circle that the team was planning to go on strike and that manager Jim Harvey, who has done a little towards turning the teams fortunes around on the pitch, was set to also leave the club. This information found its way into the betting community (being mentioned in the same as the Weymouth youth team that lost 9-0 at home to Rushden & Diamondss after they were forced to field a youth team for a match between the two sides last season), leading to a run on the match that led to some bookmakers suspending betting on it.

The deadline for the club to have paid back its football creditors is Monday, and this has already been extended once. They needed a bumper crowd for their match this afternoon, but only reported a gate of only 862 people, a number that seemed to surprise the commentator on BBC Radio Merseyside, who was at the match. The story has made Sky Sports, the BBC and will give enormous amounts of publicity to their cause. Moreover, the overwhelming reaction to the protest has been one of support, even though Chester were actually winning the match at the time.

What alternative, one might ask, did they have? It is entirely possible that the club will be either expelled from the Blue Square Premier or bankrupt by the end of next week. It is a little bit late to worry about three points now. Reasond protests, stying away and highlighting the issue to the media haven’t made any difference. The football authorities, when given the opportunity to expel the club from football and get rid of the Vaughans once and for all in August, bottled the decision and allowed them to effectively laugh at them to their faces, weren’t any help. In the course of one afternoon, however, the clubs supporters have done more to publicise the imminent death of their club that any number of other protests might have done.

It is certainly worth pausing for a moment to reflect on how it all came to this. The humiliating relegation from the Football League, the attempt to enter into a CVA in circumstances so dubious that the court upheld a HMRC appeal against it. The questionable behaviour of Vaughan Senior at recent matches. The carousel fraud. The trail of unpaid bills and half-baked schemes to wriggle out of paying them by transferring a to b and hoping that either no-one would notice or that they would be unable to stop him jumping through legal loopholes. Finally, through an act of utter depseration, a final throw of the dice, Chester’s supporters have redeemed themselves, managed to get their message out to the football world and spoken for all of us with their revulsion at what has been done to their club.

Further Reading: Part Four, Part Three, Part Two, Part One, An Open Letter To Those Running Chester City Football Club, For The Sixteenth Time This Season… Chester City, Vaughan’s Chester & The Football Authorities – Can You Guess Who Blinked First?, Minus Twenty-Five For Chester, Chester City – The Tax Man Strikes Back, Chester’s Summer Crisis Continues, Chester City’s Administration And Stephen Vaughan



Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

  • November 28, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Wyre Forest Red

    Possibly, probably, too late in the day to save them… but good on Chester fans today. Hopefully the mainstream media might actually be moved to investigate a story for once rather than lazily accept the PR spouted by football clubs and their corrupt owners. If they do, I hope they stumble on this excellent site, all the posts that there have been about this sorry saga… and that the journos start to fight the fans’ corner just for once.

  • November 28, 2009 at 7:13 pm


    Good on you, all Chester fans involved. Being a fan of a club (Wimbledon) itself ‘raped’ by owners AND the FA, you have my total support. Clubs are the supporters, NOT the owners, and the sooner that this is realised the better football will be. WE are AFC Wimbledon, never conquered by the FA. If Chester die, then it’s meant to be and the supporters will start again – the way it’s meant to be. Harsh, but true.

  • November 28, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    today at the deva.. - - Wrexham

    […] some links, describing events today.. BBC Sport – Football – Chester-Eastbourne game abandoned Chester City Football Club: The Death Rattle (Part 5) Non League Football Live | Non League Football Vidiprinter | Non League Football forums – well […]

  • November 28, 2009 at 8:39 pm


    A lot of people stood to lose a lot of money if Eastbourne failed to win this game. Very interesting that it was abandoned with Chester winning…

  • November 29, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Whitehead - Telford

    Will be a shame if this happens guys it happened to us in 2004 and I wouldnt wish it upon anyone! If you do go bankrupt I hope your fans like ours will collect enough money to start a new club just like we did and continue on playing great football!

  • November 29, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Wombling Forever

    We were told,you can’t do this & can’t do that in wider intrest of football.
    We said “up yours” & we went a head and we were right.I was so down about my teams fate,theteam l grew up with had lost it’s heart & soul was dead.But l knew in 2002 the real dons were
    back,the one that never gave in and nothing was impossible.2009 is nearly gone and our fire
    burns brightly.This can be your destiny we are living our dream,you can live yours.So you have our100% support,go & make your dream happen.Good Luck.

  • November 29, 2009 at 3:19 pm


    From a fan of another club just down the road in mid Cheshire brought to the brink of ruin by a patently criminal owner a year ago, I wish the fans the best of luck. Somebody need to stand up to these people. As has been said above – the fans are the club, stick at it.

  • November 29, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Joe, Ancoats

    Stand up for yourselves. Stand up against the Big Man. Stand up for what you know to be right.

    Forza Chester.

    The Revolution is starting.

  • November 29, 2009 at 9:17 pm


    Floppy Bob, the protest was planned during the week before. Nothing to do with betting, more to do with our Club dying.

    Big week ahead, but the fire burns brighter than ever in our long suffering fanbase after yesterday.

  • November 30, 2009 at 3:07 am


    I hope the authorities, who have done so little to help Chester, will realise why the protest has taken place and be understanding to the plight of Chester fans – although I doubt it. The FA and FL have been impotent so far and this protest will give them good reason to harshly punish the club. Shame on the FA, FL & Conference for their lack of support but who would have expected them to act any differently. They punish the small clubs and let the top teams get away with murder.

    All the best to Chester fans from a Wrexham supporter.

  • November 30, 2009 at 4:57 am


    As a Barrow supporter, I have a considerable axe to grind with Vaughan. This is what I’ve written in the latest edition of the Holker Street Newsletter, a Barrow AFC email Newsletter I’ve been doing for over 12 years. If you’d like to receive the Newsletter, drop me an email at and yes, it’s free

    It appears there were two pitch invasions during the Chester City v Eastbourne Borough game on Saturday, both were anti-Vaughan protests. During the first half, 20 people ran on to the pitch and according to the Chester Chronicle, “had been dealt with by stewards. Protesters ran on to the pitch with banners calling for the removal of Vaughan from the crisis-hit club, accompanied by ‘Vaughan out’ chants from the Vaughan Stand. Stewards escorted the supporters off the pitch, placing them back in the Vaughan Stand before play resumed.” Then in the 72nd minute it went off again, forcing the Cheshire Police to advise that the game should be abandoned.

    We will just have to wait and see what repercussions there will be for the supporters involved in the protest. I’m not going to criticise those that ran on the pitch because Vaughan is a cheating, scheming dishonest little reptile and anything anyone can do to get him out of the beautiful game is to be encouraged. Well, almost anything. But I believe running onto the pitch with a Vaughan Out banner is entirely appropriate in the circumstances. At least those who ran onto the field didn’t try to defraud the UK government out of GBP5000,000, did they?

  • November 30, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Rambling Roger

    At Exeter, we had Russell & Lewis in the Vaughan role, and they were both convicted of fraud (eventually.
    Take heart Chester fans, your darkest day may turn out to be the dawn of a new beginning (alright it’s a crappy cliche, but the sentiment is true)just look at Aldershot now back in the League following their reforming after a financial collapse and the rise of AFC Wimbledon, soon to reach L2. We were exceptionally lucky at Exeter and we will never forget that, but the opportunity to grow a new club based on proper ownership (fans based) and solid financial control is worth the wait to get back to your true level.

  • November 30, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Jay - Chester

    Vaughan has to go. I wish I was atthe match, i’d have joined in.

    Get rid of that dippy MD Bob Gray & Ian Anderson too. Both Vaughan’s puppets!

  • November 30, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Phil Chester

    Thanks for continuing the interest in our plight 200%, it’s very much appreciated.

    Today’s a make or break day for the current regime and CCFC but should the footballing authorities close us down then I believe that a new, stronger Chester FC will be born. If they decide that Vaughan has no influence over his son and allow this circus to continue then it will be a travesty and will just confirm what people say about the FA being spineless.

  • December 1, 2009 at 11:45 am


    Good luck to the future AFC Chester.

  • December 2, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    The road to Wigan Pier was blocked, so Chester was the next best thing….. « Llandudno Jet Set

    […] you greatly. (You can also read the stages of the current situation; One, Two, Three, Four, Five and Six.)  Vaughan also has extremely dodgy […]

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